What do you like best?
I love that Freshchat is embracing a broader chat solution. Instead of simply offering a window with which to exchange text, Freshchat provides a rich experience with linkable FAQs, images(including GIFs) and a decent array of integrations.
I really love the fact that Freshchat has the ability to integrate with my website, allowing logged in users to open a chat window and communicate using their identity from our site. This saves on repeat questions, avoids misinformation when users share accounts and supply their personal email instead of the credentials they're logged in with, and it helps us retrieve valuable information quickly.
The Events API allows our site to submit data to the chat tool so that when a user reaches out to us we can see their activity on the site and the Smartplugs feature allows us to query our own api for more information right from the chat interface.
The shared chat interface is great, it allows techs to shadow other users and help them answer questions, teaching the agent as well as helping customers.
FAQ support within the chat widget makes information available to the users right at the point of contact.
Ticket creation in Freshdesk allows sales folks to create IT tickets in seconds, losing no context and costing them no additional effort.
What do you dislike?
First and foremost the developer documentation is a hot mess. There's only documentation for raw JS integration, which means anyone using a framework is guaranteed to experience headaches trying to wrap the necessary calls and get them to play nice with more complex arrangements. Instead of pasting a few JS scripts into the various pages on my site, I had to wrap it in a service and I'm still playing around trying to get it to handle the login correctly.
Second, because the documentation doesn't deal with frameworks and the like, crucial behaviors like the necessary steps for clearing a user, the purpose of certain components of the scripts provided and the classes needed to hide the widget on print are all missing or described minimally. As of the writing of this review, the entire developer documentation is a single long-scroll page with about 10 subheadings.
The robust features on offer require a significant time investment in order to perform dynamically as intended. Admittedly Freshchat is a young product, and the service is great about helping me work stuff out, but having to deduce what my code is doing is not ideal.
Notifications in the app are not loud enough and they're somewhat flaky. Agents don't get notified if they're on another virtual desktop/workspace, they don't always hear them when they're on another browser tab. These are probably simply quality of life improvements but they stress our agents when they cause customers to get dead air.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Look at the dev documentation, determine if you can do the necessary legwork yourself to integrate their simple tools with more complex sites.
Consider the paradigm you're stepping into, Intercom and Freshchat both use a "Messaging, not chat" approach that emphasizes the ability to initiate conversations, share conversations among agents, and track or interrogate user activity on your site in order to target them. As a support tool these features are excellent for helping users on a webapp, they may be nigh useless on a site selling a physical product, if their marketing goals don't serve you.
Finally, consider FreshDesk or FreshSales. A great amount of the value here is that FreshChat can link it's communications into the sibling products from Freshworks and create a picture of the user in multiple departments. If you're committed to other products for those niches, make sure the integration for those will be similarly robust.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Freshchat provides a rich interface for interacting with users and has the potential to let us reach out proactively.
Importantly for our original use case, Freshchat empowers us to gather client side information about our webapp without requiring us to coach out technically uninformed users through the process of extracting it themselves. We've already saved time by allowing techs to coach sales employees through an issue and the ability to simply convert chats to tickets saves us lots of time hashing out what the user said to the chat agent.
Channels promise to allow us to integrate multiple spheres of control, allowing specialization in our chat teams.